Welsh Lib Dems call for a fairer funding scheme for farmers.

Today (2nd of March 2024) at their Spring party conference in Cardiff, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called for a fairer and more workable farming payment scheme.

Last Wednesday thousands of farmers held a protest in Cardiff against the Welsh Government’s funding proposals, which included the controversial Sustainable Farming Scheme.

In their draft budget for the 2024 financial year, the Welsh Labour Government announced that they were cutting the Rural Affairs budget by 13%, equivalent to a loss of £62 million in funding.

Commenting, the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

“Our stance as a party has always been to stand up for the interests of our farming communities here in Wales, and this still hasn’t changed.

I know from first-hand experience that many farmers earnestly support the desire to make nature-friendly farming the standard across Wales.

But when they are being presented with something as complex as the Sustainable Farming Scheme, these farmers are at the same time rightfully anxious about the prospect of transitioning.

We must offer them a viable and sustainable scheme that aims to build resilience and bolster thriving rural economies. Whilst at the same time prioritising the Welsh Language.

The current Sustainable Farming Scheme offered by Welsh Labour falls dramatically short of delivering these key priorities.

We cannot afford to alienate our farming community, particularly when they are willing to work with us in transitioning to a greener approach to farming.”

Commenting, the Welsh Liberal Democrat PCC for Ynys Mon Leena Farhat said:

“We as a party recognize that our farms are the lifeblood of Wales, without them, we as a nation would be hopelessly lost.

It is concerning that Welsh Labour have failed to provide a comprehensive long-term plan for agriculture, a core sector of Wales, despite being in government for 25 years.

The future of the Welsh agriculture industry, and rural Wales as a whole, hinges on the presence of a fair, effective, and appropriate funding scheme.

Regrettably, the current Sustainable Farming Scheme, offered by this Welsh Labour Government, not only proves unworkable but also poses a threat to the future livelihoods of numerous families within the sector.

It is disheartening to witness our farmers being made scapegoats by Labour Ministers in Cardiff Bay, who repeatedly demonstrate a profound lack of understanding of rural areas’ needs.

Over the years, their governance has failed to address the fundamental challenges facing our agricultural communities.

The Tories’ claim to champion farmers’ interests is laughable, particularly given their readiness to sacrifice them in favour of expediting questionable trade deals.

Their track record hardly reflects a commitment to safeguarding the welfare of our farmers.

Farmers deserve sincere and transparent support.

They deserve politicians who prioritize their well-being and livelihoods over political expediency.

It is time for a change, a change that places the interests of our agricultural communities at the forefront of policy making.”